Only a few days after saying that he would like to see the country "opened up and raring to go by Easter" and maybe relax rules for at least some parts of the U.S. sooner than later, President Trump today announced that he is extending the government's social distancing guidelines through April 30.
"Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won. That would be the greatest loss of all," he said. "Therefore, the next two weeks and during this period it's very important that everyone strongly follows the guidelines -- have to follow the guidelines that our great vice president holds up a lot. He's holding that up a lot. He believes in it so strongly. The better you do, the faster this whole nightmare will end. Therefore, we will be extending our guidelines to April 30 to slow the spread."
He also noted that we can expect more data and information about the federal government's strategy on Tuesday. "We'll be having a very important statement made on Tuesday."
Earlier today, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that we should expect between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths from COVID-19. "The reason the president made the announcement today about going to the end of April, is because we want to make sure that we don't prematurely think we're doing so great. We may be, but we want to push it to the extreme," Fauci, who called the decision "wise and prudent," said in today's press conference.
And while Trump has said that he wants to open up the country as fast as possible and get the economy back on track, it now looks that -- at least for the time being -- that timeline has been pushed back as he listened to Fauci and task force head Deborah Birx's advice.
The new date he mentioned today is June 1st.
"We can expect that by June 1st we will be well on our way to recovery," he said today. "We think by June 1st a lot of great things will be happening. I want every citizen in our country to take heart and confidence in the fact that we have the best medical minds in the world tackling this disease."
Currently, Trump said, death rates are expected to peak in two weeks. The original "15 days to slow the spread" campaign launched just under two weeks ago, on March 15.